Saman Abu Sitta, who was a member of the Palestine National Council and is a strong advocate for "right of return," written a letter to Abbas warning him not to fall into the trap of settling for a two-state solution, as this would be to surrender the "right." The two-state solution, he says is "extremely dangerous":
"…what has drawn our attention more than anything else is Israel’s attempt to redefine the idea of the two-state solution. Israel now wants mutual recognition – Israel as the national homeland of the Jews and, on what’s left of the land, Palestine as the national homeland of the Palestinians.”
The nerve of us, wanting mutual recognition!
Sitta’s concern is that this would mean accepting a Jewish historical claim to rights to the land. “This would constitute a historic burden; no Palestinian could bear its consequences in front of his people and history.”
Quite simply, there is no place for Israel in Abu Sitta’s scenario. If Abbas, who is still demanding "justice" for the refugees, should abandon this position, he would have to face a Palestinian constituency that includes a very large number of refugees. He is not budging.
On the other hand , even Olmert cannot and would not propose allowing these refugees into Israel.
Meanwhile former PA prime minister Ahmed Qurei has now been appointed as head of the PA negotiating committee. His position? There is no deal without Jerusalem and Gaza. And if this isn’t worked out before the conference the PA will boycott it.
Well… as he is head of the negotiating committing this may dispense with notions that Abbas will settle for just a vague statement before the conference. But in any event it’s worth looking at what Qurei is talking about:
It should be noted that he doesn’t refer to "eastern Jerusalem," but rather "Jerusalem." At a bare minimum he wants all of the Old City, including the Jewish Quarter and the Kotel, along with the Mount and all Jewish neighborhoods established past the Green Line, such as French Hill and Gilo. But there is not a snow flake’s chance in hell that the current coalition would sign off on this.
And Gaza? This has been a stumbling block because of Hamas control of the area, and so it must be asked what Qurei is suggesting. Is he implying that Hamas be included in negotiations, or, likely, that a Fatah-Hamas rapprochement is in the works? My own take on this is that the closer Fatah gets to reuniting with Hamas, the less eager it will be to participate in the conference, as this might even be a Hamas stipulation. This is Abbas really playing both ends against the middle.
Here it should be noted that Olmert has pledged not to deal with Abbas if he is connecting again with Hamas and I suspect his coalition would hold him to it.
Last week, Avi Dichter, Public Security Minister , gave a statement to Haaretz in which he said: "For seven years the PA did not lift a finger to stop the terrorism…" This is particularly important to keep in mind as Bush and Rice, and their lackey Olmert, praise Abbas for his peaceful behavior.
A Grad-type (Russian made) Katyusha rocket was shot from the north of Gaza this morning and landed in adjacent to a residential area of Netivot. This rocket — which has a 20 km range — is a more serious weapon than the Kassam and provides virtually no warning time. The last time such a rocket was shot was May but there have been other efforts that failed; terrorists are working on improving their weaponry.
Criticism was forthcoming from many quarters for Olmert’s failure to respond decisively here and protect Israeli civilians. MK Effie Eitam (NU-NRP) said that Olmert’s failure to respond adequately to the Kassams has let to this, and that "a government that divides Jerusalem will cause a Grad missile to hit the Knesset." While MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) called on the people of Israel to arouse from their slumber and see what’s going to happen if there are concessions to the PA, stating that "The prime minister must act decisively to eradicate the rockets from the South instead of offering Abbas further withdrawals to the center the country."
The website for the armed branch of Hamas made note of the Katyusha attack, saying that the rocket was aimed at "the area of Naqab, which was occupied since 1948." Netivot is within the Green Line.